Friday, April 25, 2014

Possibly Not Spring Quite Yet...

     The snow has (mostly) gone, and quite quickly, too, considering how much of it there was. But Spring is still being a bit coy. Today, for example, we have light freezing drizzle and a minus one big degree outdoors. I had erected my poly tunnel and put out some seedlings a few days ago but I brought them all back indoors yesterday. I suppose I could run a power cord and put the electric heater out there, but it seems like a recipe for conflagration or other disaster...  
     The crocus are doing their best to cheer me up, coming up everywhere under the viburnums - as soon as the snow cleared away they bloomed, the brave things. Some of the daffs and the tulips are poking up as well, but no sign of blooms as yet. Very sensible of them, I'm sure.
Some slugs of unmarried parents have nipped off my hellebore beside the front path - I saw the buds unfurling, went back the next day to trim off the last year's leaves and the buds were gone. I don't have slug pellets but I put down grit, and then put it around the new hellebores I planted in the front yard as well. (I hope the slugs are enjoying the freezing drizzle.) I am planning a trip to Veseys this afternoon and hope to get slug pellets there - or somewhere. They don't deserve beer.
    I have quite a few varieties of tomatoes started - I am going to try to beat the dreaded blight spores this year, including growing them in the poly tunnel in pots. If the Brits can do it, so can I! I got "Defiant" and "Sweet Million" at Veseys, "Sasha's Pride" and "Super Italian Paste" at West Coast Seeds, and Anne sent "Legend" and "Stupice". I have pricked out most of them, and have about a dozen of each. Anne will have to take quite a few - or we'll have to plough up the lawn.  I also have sweet peppers up, and am trying to grow quinoa - the first seeds I planted have germinated, but they got quite stretched indoors. I tried to pot some of them on, but they didn't have their first true leaves yet, and, combined with low light, they have all expired. I have started a few more!
    Anne has sent me some seeds of white plants from VanDusen Garden and I am putting two of them into the cold frame - now that it is out from under the snow. One of them needs 16 degrees ("Asarina procumbens") so I'll keep it in, but the other two are OK for outdoors - "Aquillegia alpina 'alba'" and "Cardiocrinum giganteum". Fingers crossed.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Happy spring 2014

    This has been a winter to end all - snowstorms began in December and came along quite regularly afterwards, at a rate of one or two - occasionally three - a week thereafter. We have a lot of snow piled up around us - a couple of thaws have reduced them a bit, but then more storms come and the levels are restored, or built up even further. The City is in even worse shape - the practice has been to truck snow away from parking lots, but I think this must have gotten steadily more expensive; so this year they are just piling and going on piling. The big WalMart lot has a HyMac earth-mover in the middle of the pile, and it is heaping the snow up even higher than the bulldozers can get it. Parking spaces are becoming more and more limited, and in some lots you dare not go down certain lanes, because there's no exit at the end and you may have to back out.
       Spring has brought no respite - this past two weeks schools were cancelled for five days in a row, making 12 days in all this winter. I seem to remember that, last year, we had garden preparation going on by now, and some vegetables planted by the end of the month. Not so this year. The garden is buried, the polytunnel is collapsed under the snow (as it has been since December) and it never gets thawed out enough to even *try* to clear it off and pop it up again. I *wish* I had  thought to de-skin it last fall - it is the only way it will survive, especially with snow like this.  I just checked with the government weather site and they have recorded 400+ cm of snow from December to the end of March. and 25+ in April - so far. Today is foggy and +2 degrees, so there is melting, but this stuff is going to take a *while* to go away.
    The iPhoto app has a "last 12 months" photo list. Last April 11 I was photographing my very first hellebore, unfurling. This year - it is somewhere under that snowbank, just on the right. Not unfurling, if it knows what's good for it.
    It has been a good year to get work done indoors, however. We got the sink and tub in the laundry/bathroom hooked up and I spent a couple of messy days tiling and grouting. I think they look pretty good now. We still need a tall book-case to put beside the washer, to hide all the plumbing and stuff behind it, and hold a few towels and so on. I have an IKEA one picked out, but IKEA is just too far!
Sink, nearly finished
Tub, in the mudpie phase (grouting)
Tub, complete with "Bathsheba" print
     There are just a couple of things left to do - seal the grout, fill in some cracks around the tub with expanding foam, and then silicone seal between the tile and the tub and sink, and, if I can manage it, a tiny bead between the tile and the wall. Our sink installer suggested a bead around the pedestal and the floor tile too. And I think, once all that is done, I'd like to spray expanding foam around the tub, to insulate it and also to firm it up a bit. Oh, and build the cupboard doors for the linen closet, and the panels for under the tub. How many years did this project take? I really love it, though.
     But I would love Spring more.